1. NBA ceiling
Last season, Texas basketball didn’t have much in the way of players that saw a fast rising NBA Draft stock at any point. Smart had a highly touted NBA prospect the entire way with Mohamed Bamba, but that was expected from day one of his arrival on campus. Hayes is bringing a new, and refreshing, narrative to the Texas basketball program this season.
Moreover, Hayes was one of the lowest rated recruits in the 2018 recruiting class for the Horns. He’s quickly proving that underrated prospects can make a huge impact early on, even in a conference with as much national recognition as the Big 12. Some national pundits are even including Hayes as a potential first round 2019 NBA Draft selection.
Bleacher Report included Hayes as one of its eight NBA Draft prospects that are rising quickly, as of early December. NBA Draft Room compares him to a more refined and coordinated JaVale McGee. They also gave his skill set a recognizable comparison to the defensive standout Miami Heat big man Hassan Whiteside.
The latest 2019 NBA Draft Big Board from nbadraft.net posted Hayes among its top 40 prospects, and he’s continuing to rise very fast. A few other notable sources that recognized the rise of Hayes includes CBS Sports, ESPN, and NBC Sports. The national recognition of Hayes’ rise to prominence for the 2019 NBA Draft is a testament to the ceiling he shows with Texas and what NBA scouts know he can do at the next level.